IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said Wednesday that if he can withstand the lingering pain from a hit to the back during Monday's overtime loss to the Washington Redskins, he will play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
"That part has never been an issue, but we've got to wait and see," Romo said, adding, "it will be about your ability to be productive in some fashion. That part of it, we will continue to evaluate."
Romo did not practice Wednesday, but he would not have if he were healthy -- he has taken Wednesdays off since Week 2 to continue to strengthen his core and surgically repaired back. He was able to do some rehab work but not the normal load he would have done. He said he is not sure if he will be able to practice Thursday.
Brandon Weeden took the first-team work in what coach Jason Garrett called a "jog through" practice Wednesday and would start if Romo cannot play. Undrafted rookie Dustin Vaughan could be the backup if Romo is inactive.
Romo said the pain level Wednesday was "pretty similar" to how he felt after Monday's game and thinks it will be like that for some time, but he was encouraged that the issue is not related to the disk surgery he had last December.
"I don't know that I've ever seen anybody who has a tougher will, his mind, and it helps him tremendously with pain threshold, combination of those two things," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "He's as tough-minded and physically tough a player as I've ever been around."
Washington linebacker Keenan Robinson "caught me perfect," Romo said. "It's something you have to deal with. It could have happened years ago, and it would have been the same thing. It's part of playing football."
Garrett said the decision on whether Romo will play against Arizona will be made by the doctors and that he will have to feel certain Romo can function.
How does he define that?
"The main thing is the tolerance. We don't know how impactful the soreness or impactful the stiffness would be on him. We don't know that and won't know that until probably as late as game time."
"You'll probably have to ask Webster's how you define it," Garrett said. "I would define it as being able to perform and function [in] the job required. The nature of this game is that guys are always in different situations physically throughout a game, throughout a season.
"Is everyone 100 percent? You can probably go in that locker room and say no one is 100 percent. That's the nature of our game and the nature of football players around this league. So, certainly, functional means he's able to do his job at a high enough level, and Tony's been able to do that really throughout his career dealing with different injuries."
Romo believes he needs practice to perform at a high level, but he has played without practicing before. The difference this week is that Dallas will have one fewer day of preparation time to get ready for the NFC West-leading Cardinals (6-1).
The Cowboys (6-2) will wait as long as they need to make a decision on Romo, while preparing Weeden as best as they can.
"At a certain point, there needs to be a shift in the way you feel that shows you that you're able to do the fundamental things that need to get done," Romo said. "From there, you got to get the doctors' clearance and take those steps and go."
Earlier Wednesday, Jones had said Romo's season was not in jeopardy and that the quarterback would be available to play Sunday if he can tolerate the pain in his balky back.
"The main thing is the tolerance," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We don't know how impactful the soreness or impactful the stiffness would be on him. We don't know that and won't know that until probably as late as game time."
ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins contributed to this report.